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Texas has recovered 60% of jobs lost since the start of the pandemic

Parker Harvey expects to see above-average growth in jobs in 2021 as long as we continue COVID-19 safety precautions.

HOUSTON — Gov. Greg Abbott vows Texas will continue to be a jobs leader heading further into 2021. Abbott made the comment on Tuesday in front of small business owners in San Antonio.

The announcement came as we are getting a better picture of the pandemic’s effect on Texas jobs. The state continues to bounce back from the worst of the COVID-19 crisis.

New data shows Texas ended 2020 by losing more than 400,000 jobs compared to the year before.

“Overall though, all things considered, we’ve recovered pretty well. We’ve got back about 60 percent of the jobs that we lost in March and April of last year,” Parker Harvey, principal economist at Gulf Coast Workforce Solutions, said.

When taking a closer look at Houston, he said the region had added around 65,000 jobs in 2019.

“Obviously, 2020 (was a) completely unprecedented year, we didn’t see that at all. We lost 140,000 (jobs). We’re down about 5% year-over-year,” Harvey said.

He said leisure and hospitality jobs in bars are restaurants were impacted the most. While those sectors continue to struggle, Harvey said jobs are coming back.

Jobs in areas like manufacturing and oil field services have not been able to recover any job losses.

Harvey said Houston’s unemployment rate is higher than the rest of the state.

“We can safely say unemployment is probably in the neighborhood of somewhere between 8 and 9 percent which means we’ve got about 250,000-270,000 people who are unemployed still,” Harvey said.

Furthermore, Harvey expects to see above-average growth in jobs as long as we continue COVID-19 safety precautions.

“How dramatic the drop was in 2020 leads to an equally dramatic rebound on the other side at some point,” he said.